With every start he makes with the Dodgers, former Nationals ace Max Scherzer strengthens his bid for a fourth Cy Young award.
His ERA is down to a league-best 2.28 on the year, and he's struck out a league-leading 12.3 batters per nine innings. Scherzer's main competition is teammate Walker Buehler, and as both pitchers aim to lead the Dodgers to an NL West crown by the end of the season, there's even more hardware at stake over the final 22 games.
For Ryan Zimmerman, it's getting harder and harder not to have Scherzer as the favorite for the award.
"If he keeps pitching like this for whatever he has left, four or five starts, it's going to be hard not to give it to him," Zimmerman told the Sports Junkies on Thursday.
Scherzer's been a much better pitcher for the Dodgers this year through seven starts, but he was still excellent with the Nationals before the trade deadline. Once he was traded to LA and thrust into the middle of a pennant race, his game went to another level.
Let this be a lesson for opposing hitters: Don't give Max Scherzer any added motivation.
"He always needs something to fuel him, and maybe going to a new place and being somewhere new and obviously in the playoff hunt again and things like that," Zimmerman said. "I mean, there was no doubt in my mind that he was going to go there and pitch well."
Zimmerman isn't the only member of the Nationals pulling for Scherzer to succeed in Los Angeles. General manager Mike Rizzo said Wednesday how he's "rooting hard" for Scherzer to get his fourth Cy Young. He already won two with Washington in 2016 and 2017, and the franchise could technically take credit for one this season as well.
Scherzer is set to take the mound again on Saturday as the Dodgers face the Padres in a crucial NL West tilt.